Thursday, September 22, 2011

A year of Lovin'

On September 30, it will have been a full year I have been an owner of Vixen, my quarter horse mare.

Oh, where did I go wrong?  *sigh*

So last year when Pattie got Ransom, I was all eager to get my own horse.  First, I love animals.  And whats not to love about a horse?  I had gone horseback riding a couple of times with the friends and found I loved the whole deal of owning a horse (including but not limited to cleaning their shit apparently).

We searched a bunch of places for the right one.  As Pattie always tells me, you have to click with your horse.  We turned to craigslist.  Out past some far away place that I do not remember the name of, we met Tammy and her horse Cinnamon.  Cinnamon was super trained, well behaved, and broke broke (which translates to so broke that an 8yr could ride her).

What wasn't to like about Cinnamon?  I needed a broke horse because I was super beginner.  I talked to Pattie, who promptly asked if I felt a click.  No, no I didn't.  But she was broke, she was cheap, and according to Tammy, heading for the kill broker if she wasn't bought within a week.  So I could rescue her at a cheap price.  Yay!

After having Cinnamon at the stable for a while we realized a couple things.  Tammy was a liar.  Cinnamon (aka Vixen) was not trained.  We couldn't lunge her without our arms being yanked out of their sockets.  Well behaved?  Not a chance in hell as she is only FIVE!  (Five or six, its hard to tell.)  So, nope, not behaved.  Was she at least broke broke?  Let me tell you something- if a parent or guardian ever put an 8yr on this horse, THEY SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO HAVE KIDS IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Vixen knows only one speed- fast.  This means she trots all the damn time.  (hint the helmet.)

I would rather die with a pink helmet than die without protection.

If you wanted her to walk, she'd trot.  If you wanted a trot, she'd canter.  And then out of no where pick up speed and go into a gallop scaring the shit out of me.  So not even remotely close to being even green broke let alone broke broke. Yet definitely broken by another definition...

So throughout the winter, which was tough, I kept at it, trying to click with her, to teach her, to bond with her.  But this mare has some major trust issues.  I asked trainers at the stable for advice.  They told me to beat her.  Okay not really like that, but to make her do what I wanted when I wanted it. Thus showing her I am in charge.  This worked a little, until I would go to ride again and it started all over again! FOR REAL?!

Then as those close to me know we moved to Sewickley at the end of the year.  This meant the horses need to be closer to home.  We were planing to build stables on our land, but needed to wait until it wasn't frozen outside to do so.  This meant another stable for the time being.  So we found a local stable and  got them settled in.  This stable, unlike the last one, did turnout.

They would let the horse out during the day.  The only exception was Ransom because every single time he came out of his stall there he was lame (limping, not the other lame).  So he was stuck out with one other horse, by himself, or not put out at all.  Sadly, we couldn't do this with Vixen.

You see, Vixen likes other horses.  A lot.  So much that when you pull her away from them she fights to go back to them usually not caring if she is taking you with her and knocking that poor owner of Sadie over in the process...  This shouldn't have surprised us as we knew she wasn't broke.  But the herd sour was pushing my buttons.  I couldn't ride her and would hop off frustrated.

We did do a month of training, which worked wonders!  Then she came home (see above pic) where she seemed quite happy for a little bit.  Yeah, it didn't last long.  You see, when I would give up and walk away to keep my temper in check what I was actually doing was giving in to what she wanted (me walking away).  This means anytime I try to do anything with her it usually ends up with me throwing a temper tantrum.

Unfortunately this resulted in me further breaking my horse.  I couldn't seem to work with her.  She resented me, loved Rob, and only listened to Pattie when it came time to work.  No matter how hard I tried it was always a constant battle with her.  I wanted to go left, she fought to go right.  I wanted her to walk, she'd trot.  Even simple things like taking her in the pastor on a lead line was too much and she would drag me to and fro.

Vixen laughing at my attempts to be the boss.  She hurts my feelings. 

Alas I gave up.  Everyone told me not to.  They told me she would be great if I put the work into her.  We could be the best of friends.  I know this to be true because I see the way Pattie and Ransom are, the way Rob and Sarge are.  But I tried, and Vixen just fought against it.  I swear she gained some sort of pleasure from watching me try, try, try.

This resulted in us leasing her.  We hope that someone comes along that Vixen clicks with, someone that she is willing to work with and have fun with.  We had a woman named Kim lease her, but she hasn't been back out recently, so I do not know if it is something Vixen did or if Kim just didn't feel any clicks.  We have a couple people here and there inquire about her.  Unfortunately we require an experienced rider, someone willing to put the training into her, and willing to put the time and patience into her for the bond of trust to form. 

However, and I kid you not, this mare loves every single person that came out to test ride her.  Yet the moment I hop on that saddle she freaks and ignores everything I try to ask of her. 

At my birthday party, showing off my pride and joy.  It rained.
So where do I go from here?  I am stuck with a horse who has mentally rejected me.  She is so sound, bombproof, hasn't spooked about anything.  She has an amazing bill of health, sometimes a little ouchie on her hind quarters we think a result of training gone too far.  She loves being with the herd and always looks out after the boys.  I mean, a truly amazing horse, so willing to work- just as long as its not work for me. 

Vixen and Ransom "sharing" grass.

It has been an interesting year with her.  Interesting and super frustrating.  Thankfully I have learned some form of control on my temper.  And as much as I sometimes wish I hadn't even put the money into her, I also see a brilliant horse that has shown me more than any old timer could've.  It kills me that she can't trust me, because what kind of impression did I give her for her not to trust me?  Not only has she shown me much about her intelligence, but also about how little I know on horses. 

Was it a mistake to get her?  Quite possibly, yes. 

Knowing what I know now, would I go back and do it all over again?  NO! 

Like some people shouldn't have children, some people shouldn't have horses.  In no way am I ready for the responsibility that comes with owning a horse, and for that, she has paid a price no horse should ever pay.  That and she has seriously turned me off on the idea of owning another horse after her.  It might be a couple of years before Ransom and Sarge get another buddy to share all the grass with...  Which I am sure they will love. 

For now, I will stick to cats.  They are easier and have much smaller poo. 

Proof that you're a cheating whore Booties! 


  1. Can TOTALLY feel ya with your issues with Vixen, been there done that. And now you have another blog follower.